08 Mar Kids need to learn coding, and not just for career prep
When I first heard that coding was to become a part of the new school curriculum in BC, I thought the idea was a bit esoteric.
Flashbacks of learning how to code in my first-year computer science class in university reminded me of my disinterest in programming, and my belief that it was a skill that I would never use. But that was before technology had become such an integral part of life.
In a roundtable discussion that I attended a few weeks ago, BC’s Minister of Jobs & Skills Training Shirley Bond spoke of the government’s plans to prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, and technology was noted as a key focus.
Minister Bond, along with Minister of Education Mike Bernier, emphasized the importance of technology in the classroom – seeing it as a valuable learning tool, not a hinderance. They noted future education plans for our province will focus on a new perspective: looking at the jobs that they know will exist in five or 10 years, and renovating the curriculum to provide our children with the skills they need to fill those jobs.
They recognized a need for more diverse options for children and their strategic and unified shift to a curriculum that adapts to the world as it is, not as it was, was a big part of their revised strategy.
There are many jobs today that use coding directly. Occupations that didn’t even exist when I was growing up. But learning code is more valuable than just preparing for a career in tech.
Coding teaches children how to problem solve. It helps to explain the world around us, much in the same way as biology does, and as technology continues to advance, coding will quickly become a language as common as English.
The assumption made by many parents is that young kids lack the ability to learn and comprehend such a complicated skill, but extensive research has shown that young children are so adept at picking up foreign languages, that it’s best to start as early as possible.
Forward-thinking companies are beginning to emerge locally, offering coding classes for children. The Young Developers Academy offers classes for children as young as 10 years old, where kids can learn how to make their own video games, or learn 3D animation in a fun and interactive environment. One thing that piqued my interest in this program in particular is that they integrate physical activity into the learning process, hosting classes in fun locations such as the Laserdome on the North Shore, so children can take movement breaks in between lessons.
Learning to code at an early age will allow your kids to succeed in a rapidly-changing, and tech-savvy world, and will help to prepare them for the future – in school, in the workforce, and in life.